5 Questions with Debbie Nielsen on the New Net Metering Program

October 15, 2019

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Quotables:

  • Our Net Metering Program allows you to make your own power and use it to lower your power bill.
  • The former program was among the most generous of its kind in Canada, and the updated program better reflects current market conditions. 
  • The new program is sustainable, and SaskPower can continue to offer it year after year.

SaskPower announced its Net Metering Program had hit its 16 MW cap in September. We’ve reviewed it, and now it’s back for our customers who want to generate their own solar power. That’s why we sat down with Debbie Nielsen, Director of Customer Programs and Strategy. She explains the new program and what that means for you.

  1. How does the new program work?

    Our Net Metering Program allows you to make your own power and use it to lower your power bill. The program’s open to everyone, and there’s no limit to the number of customers who can apply.

    Here's how it works:

    • When you use the power you generate, you avoid paying the retail rate for energy (about 14 cents per kWh for residential customers).
    • If you generate more power than you use, it's sent back to the electrical grid. We'll provide you with a financial credit equal to 7.5 cents per kWh (the average cost that SaskPower pays for its power).
    • We apply your credit against the energy charge on your bill. And if you don’t use all of your credit that month, it will carry over to your next month’s bill.
  2. How is this different from the former Net Metering Program?

    The former program was among the most generous of its kind in Canada. The province offered a rebate on solar installations and customers also got a premium credit for excess power. The updated program better reflects current market conditions.

  3. Is this new program less generous than the previous program?

    The new program is sustainable, and SaskPower can continue to offer it year after year.

    The price of solar systems has come down a lot. About 10 years ago, an average-sized home cost $60,000. A few years ago, it was about $21,000 – or about a third of the price.

    To ensure that the program reflects current market conditions, we’ll review the price paid for excess energy before the end of 2021 and make adjustments to the price if we need to.

  4. How did you decide on the specifics of this new program?  

    We wanted a program that could be offered on an ongoing basis without the need for caps or contracts. The price paid for the energy was a key factor in making this happen and ensuring fairness for all customers – both those generating and not generating. SaskPower’s average energy price is a sustainable rate.

  5. How do I know if this program is right for me?

    If you’re considering net metering:

    • Making your home more energy efficient will help reduce the size of the system you need and allow you to get the best bang for your buck!
    • Understanding your energy use is also important. You can track your monthly power use by signing up for an online account.
    • There is a lot of good information online that can help you understand if it makes sense for you. Be sure to research your options.
    • Talking to a few suppliers to give you quotes will help you to figure out the size and cost of a system.
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